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TV Marathon Guide: Volume I

16 Apr

You may have noticed that while this blog has a pretty regular biweekly posting schedule, lately I’ve missed a few weeks here and there… because I’ve had a case of the sicks. I kept avoiding the sicknesses that seemed to be making their way through everyone I encountered, but NO LONGER. Nope, I joined the ranks of the infected. It was disgusting, but at least I’ve been able to catch up on my TV. It was during this time of near constant bedrest next to a nightstand covered in snotty tissues that I realized being sick is actually really convenient, TV-wise. It’s a great chance to marathon a TV show and get completely absorbed. You’re distracted from your horrible decomposing corpse of a body, AND you get to feel like you’re at least living through someone else’s life. So, this week I’m going to discuss some great shows that can be easily marathoned from your bed. This is going to be a two parter, because I have a LOT of opinions when it comes to TV. I’m going to talk about both Netflix Instant/Hulu picks, but also shows available on premium cable, DVD, or whatever shady ways you want to get your programming. I realize not everyone has HBO or access to a video store (I have no idea where I would go to rent a DVD in LA. I’ve taken to renting things through Amazon or iTunes). But anyone with Internet access can get on Hulu, and you should all have Netflix Instant. True story: Once I was on a date with a guy and he told me he didn’t have Netflix Instant. I immediately blurted out, “What are you, a hobo?!’ I mean, come on guys, it’s $8 a month. GET YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT.

Note: There were SO MANY shows on my original list of in-bed marathon-worthy television programs, but I wanted to keep things short and sweet, and also avoid being yet another person who told you to watch Downton Abbey or whatever. Dare to be different and all that. That being said, you probably should watch ScandalLuther, etc.

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Basics: Friday Night Lights is about high school football in the small town of Dillon, Texas. Oh wait, no it’s not. Sure, that’s the thing that ties all the characters together, but FNL is more about characters, relationships, and TEARS than football. It’s also about how Tami Taylor is an angel sent by God to help us foolish mortals navigate this cruel world.

Amazing Dialogue Snippet:

Eric Taylor: Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose.

Why You Should Watch: I was stuck in bed for a week or two and my mom went and rented me the first seasons of Friday Night Lights and 30 Rock. It was actually a perfect combo, because I laughed so much at 30 Rock that I was in a lot of pain (having just had abdominal surgery), and I counteracted that with FNL which instead made me CRY. Oh, FNL, the tears I have shed over your emotional storylines. If you’re apprehensive about watching a show about football, let me tell you: I knew nothing about football – I still know nothing about football – but I loved every second of Friday Night Lights (minus the Landry/Tyra murder plot, which I’m pretty sure all fans have agreed to forget ever happened). And I say again: CLEAR EYES, FULL HEARTS, CAN’T LOSE.

Friday Night Lights is available in its entirety on DVD, Netflix Instant, and Hulu Plus

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Basics: Veronica Mars is about a girl (Veronica) who has a pretty complicated life. Her best friend was murdered, and when Veronica’s father, the then-sheriff, accused Lilly’s celebrity father of killing her, he lost his job and the town turned against him. Mama Mars turned to booze and eventually left the family, and Veronica became an outcast. And then she got drugged and raped at a party and can’t remember anything that happened that night. Now Veronica helps out in her dad’s PI office, and takes on a case-of-the-week, whether is be helping a fellow high school student, or one of her dad’s clients. Oh, and she’s also trying to figure out who killed her BFF, who drugged and/or raped her at a house party, where her mom is, and so many other things that I can’t go into now.

Amazing Dialogue Snippet:

Veronica: Got any enemies you know about?

Wallace: Well, there’s the Klan.

Why You Should Watch: V. Mars is  a fantastic female character, and I love that while she has a support team who help/love her, she doesn’t assume anyone will save her or fight her battles for her. Veronica Mars is the role model we’ve all been waiting for! While this show is about a teenage girl, she’s a witty, intelligent teenage girl. Her soapy teenage problems are totally HBO-worthy (did Veronica Mars date, and then get date raped by, her OWN BROTHER?!). Also, I’m not going to go into my whole spiel here, but Veronica Mars handles issues of sexual assault with more grace and accuracy than ANY other show. In this sense, Veronica Mars isn’t just a role model, but a HERO.

Veronica Mars is available in its entirety on DVD

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Basics: Seven people are abducted and wake up trapped in hotel rooms. When they get out they realize that they are alone in an abandoned ghost town, and they’re being watched. The abductees try to unravel the mystery of where they are and why, discovering more and more secrets along the way. Imagine a schlocky Lost, and you’ve kind of got the gist.

Amazing Dialogue Snippet: Nonexistent, unless you count me watching Alan Ruck’s character trapped in a ghost town and singing, “Let my Cameron gooooooo!” as I did during pretty much every episode.

Why You Should Watch: This show isn’t great, but it’s great, you know? It’s interesting enough for you to get really into it during a TV marathon, but I doubt I would have stuck around if I had to wait a week for each episode. However, after the finale, I was TOTALLY ready for a season two. The set up for the final cliffhanger was amazing, and it made me wish the rest of the show could have been as good. Watch the show through to the end and see if you agree.

Person’s Unknown is available in its entirety on DVD or Netflix Instant

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Basics: Harper’s Island is a miniseries takes place on a small island in the Pacific Northwest that years ago was the site of a bunch of grisly murders. Now a group of people are on the island for a wedding, but then one by one they start dying… DUN DUN DUUUUUN.

Amazing Dialogue Snippet: Harper’s is similar to Person’s Unknown, but it knew it was campy and embraced it wholeheartedly. No standout lines that I can remember, but I did like how every episode had an onomatopoeiatic title, like Thwack or Gurgle, that referenced the murder you were about to see that week.

Why You Should Watch: This was a miniseries, that was always intended to have a limited run of 13 episodes. This is GREAT, as you get a story with a satisfying conclusion. There’s a mystery. It gets solved. Whew! And did I mention the camp factor? Because it’s HUGE.

Harper’s Island is available on DVD and Netflix Instant

That’s it for now. Come back next time for even more TV shows to become obsessed with! Who needs a social life when there’s TELEVISION?!?!

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